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7 Ways to Improve Patient Satisfaction

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Like any business, healthcare practices are highly concerned with patient satisfaction. Some are even graded on it through the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS). Whether they come from an external assessment or internal checks, patient satisfaction scores play a big role in how likely patients are to return and recommend you to others. It can also affect your standing in the healthcare industry, with poor scores on the HCAHPS even limiting reimbursement.

Improving patient satisfaction depends on a broad range of factors, like cleanliness, communication with providers and timeliness of care delivery. Thankfully, you can implement a range of solutions to improve the patient experience, ideally improving other measures in the process, like productivity and quality of care. Below are some of our top suggestions for how to improve patient satisfaction.

1. Take Patient Education Seriously

One major step toward patient satisfaction is paying attention to patient education and involvement. Patients want to be involved in their care, and patient education is associated with gains in engagement for shared decision making, medication and treatment adherence, treatment outcomes and satisfaction. 

Many patients struggle to remember the vast amount of information given to them during a visit with their doctor. There are many ways to provide patient education, but you can make a big difference through accessible, written information. Of course, a thorough explanation and access to written documentation are great, but you can go a step further by creating open communication channels, such as messaging tools.

Make sure your staff understands the importance of patient education and is willing to deliver an attentive, all-questions-answered approach to care.

2. Personalize the Patient Experience

Look for ways to personalize a patient’s journey. This may look like reminding healthcare workers of the importance of eye contact and saying the patient’s name or implementing automatic appointment reminders sent right to patient phones. Every patient is different, and individualizing their experience can go a long way in creating a more satisfying healthcare experience.

3. Provide a Fast, Convenient Billing System

No one wants to play phone tag with their doctor’s office or wait for bills to come in the mail. Paying a medical bill should be as easy as paying a credit card bill. Use patient experience technology to offer a convenient payment platform. Let them pay co-pays and balances ahead of time and view estimates from a mobile app or your website through a branded experience that matches your organization’s image.

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4. Update Your Tech

In the 21st century, patient satisfaction and technology go hand in hand. Your patients expect modern, easy-to-use tools that simplify communications with providers. Take some time to evaluate the technology you rely on. Does it just cover the basics, or does it facilitate better care and help you work more efficiently?

Clinical tools like your electronic health record (EHR) are vital, but administrative tasks are heavily customer-facing. Making appointments, paying bills, sending messages — these touchpoints send an important message about your practice. Don’t let a bad digital experience hold you back or get in the way of delivering an excellent quality of care.

5. Provide Timely Care

Your practice doesn’t need to fit the stereotype of having long wait times, especially when so many providers streamline scheduling and offer more punctual visits. One survey found that 30% of people have walked out of a doctor’s appointment due to long waits, and one in five have changed providers because of them. Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to boost — or almost eliminate! — the waiting room experience, including:

  • Allowing patients to fill out forms and questionnaires and make payments ahead of time.
  • Offering mobile or kiosk check-in.
  • Implementing wait-time algorithms to gauge office activities in real-time.
  • Providing waiting room boards to show transparency and help patients visualize their wait.

Most of these tools involve reducing the interactions patients need to have with office staff, who can use their time more efficiently and focus on delivering exceptional, person-centered care.

6. Prioritize Your Team’s Wellness

Never underestimate the importance of a happy, healthy and engaged workforce. Healthcare burnout is a serious problem, with a wide range of factors like paperwork burden, pay issues and short-staffing. Take a good, hard look at how you help your team thrive. Are they paid fairly? Could you automate things to reduce administrative work? Do you have a large enough team to meet demand and offer sufficient time-off for employees?

Employee engagement has been associated with improvements in patient ratings, and you can support that engagement by fostering a workplace that cares about its employees as people, not numbers. Many factors influence employee wellness, but a major concern is workplace stress. If employees spend most of their day on administrative tasks, like appointment scheduling and insurance verification, they have less time to focus on the patient. Inefficient processes contribute to an overworked team. Thankfully, automation can eliminate many of these monotonous tasks and help you create a more enjoyable workday for employees.

7. Work Toward Continuous Improvement

If your organization has been around for more than a few years, you know that it isn’t the same as it was when it started. Businesses, technology and people are always evolving, and you need to evolve with them. To better understand your patient’s needs and the industry in your area, you need to collect feedback and continuously analyze your data as part of your patient satisfaction improvement plan.

You might collect patient surveys or review your HCAHPS scores to see what patients want. But you could have an array of other data points at your disposal, like how your patients choose to engage with your practice and pay for care. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have made it possible to assess things like customer service phone calls and chats, as well as monitor trends.

Don’t overlook the value of this data, which can help you make changes that resonate with your patients and get more people in the door. Whether they’re desperate for a doctor that listens or one that accommodates their busy schedule with simple communication tools, you won’t know until you collect and analyze the information.

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How Millennia Complete Can Boost Your Patient Satisfaction

Many of the most noticeable aspects of patient satisfaction come down to how patients interact with you. This front-facing experience relies on a foundation of capable technology. Millennia Complete can help you build that groundwork with a comprehensive solution for improving the patient experience before, during and after their care. From self-scheduling and virtual check-in to expansive payment options and advanced engagement analytics, Millennia Complete is your all-in-one tool to simplify patient satisfaction.

We’ve helped providers of all types and sizes meet their patient satisfaction goals — just ask the team at St. Clair Hospital in southwestern Pennsylvania. Millennia helped them virtually eliminate patient wait times and increase patient satisfaction to over 98%. With more ways to pay, the hospital also simplified collections and saw positive impacts on payments.

Explore everything Millennia Complete has to offer online, or request a consultation today to see what it can do for your organization.